Heading our first NBA Weekly Wrap-up is news of Kevin Durant returning to the Warriors’ lineup plus possible matchups in the playoffs.
In our first edition of the NBA Weekly Wrap-up, we check out a few of the events that transpired this past week in the Association. As Kevin Durant returns to his pre-injury shape, will the rest of the league be able to stop the Warriors? This is especially relevant with the Spurs and Cavs sputtering to the finish line with losses. This week also saw Russell Westbrook putting up another triple double to match Oscar Robertson’s record. We’ll also discuss the heated race for the final playoff spots in the East and West.
Kevin Durant returns to Warriors just in time for playoffs
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 9, 2017
The Golden State Warriors were already formidable even without Kevin Durant for most of the month of March. With the former MVP back in the fold, the Warriors are again a force to be reckoned with. Playing for the first time since he got injured, Durant put up 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in 30 minutes against the Pelicans. More impressive than his numbers though is the fact that the Warriors still won without Stephen Curry. The way they’re playing now, Golden State doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. Their defense is as stout as ever despite their dearth of quality big men. Offensively, they’ve been more than impressive having handily won the majority of their last couple of games.
Spurs and Cavs get upset losses
Not our night, but we'll face 'em again Sunday.
LBJ: 27PTS, 7AST, 8REB
Kyrie: 18PTS, 7AST
Kevin: 15PTS, 15REB
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 8, 2017
In contrast to the Warriors, the Spurs and Cavs haven’t had the best week in our NBA Weekly Wrap-up. Earlier, San Antonio lost a winnable game against a Clippers squad on the decline, 98-87. The Cavaliers on the other hand, had an even worse outing with a 114-100 loss over the Hawks. What’s even worse is that the defending champs fielded a complete lineup while Atlanta missed all of their starters. While the Spurs could live with the loss, the same can’t be said for the Cavs. Cleveland is only half a game ahead of the Celtics for first in the East. If they want to retain the first seed, they’ll now have to make sure that they don’t lose their last 3 games of the season.
Russell Westbrook breaks Oscar Robertson’s record, averages triple-double for season
You know already about Russell Westbrook's season triple-double.
But dig deeper and the stats are even more absurd: https://t.co/ulv0eCpjKW
— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2017
After the events of this week, there’s no doubt in everyone’s mind that Russell Westbrook is a beast on the court. The OKC Thunder point guard has more than thrived after Kevin Durant bolted for Golden State in the offseason. Just this week, he managed to tie Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple doubles in a season with 41 four days ago. Then about a day ago, he managed to secure a triple-double average for the season. This came with his sixth assist in a game against the Phoenix Suns. Now, all that’s left for Westbrook is to get a regular season MVP award for his efforts. The problem though is that James Harden is having an exceptional season of his own.
Portland and Denver are still battling it out in the West
The Portland Trail Blazers clinch a playoff spot today if the Denver Nuggets lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 9, 2017
Another interesting piece of news for our NBA Weekly Wrap-up is the on-going battle for the 8th seed in the West. The Portland Trail Blazers have come alive recently with the addition of Jusuf Nurkic. In fact, they’ve been so good that they’ve now unseated Nurkic’s former team, the Denver Nuggets for the 8th seed. However, the Nuggets still have a chance to win back that 8th seed. Their problem now though is that they’ll need Portland to lose its remaining games while they win their last 3. Not exactly impossible but extremely hard to pull off. Consider this, the Blazers’ schedule consist of a game against the Spurs and Pelicans. Portland only needs to win one of those. For the Nuggets, they’ll have 2 games left against the Thunder sandwiching one against the Mavericks.
Chicago clinging to 8th in the East
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 9, 2017
It’s not just the West that’s having a compelling last couple of regular season games. Rounding out our NBA Weekly Wrap-up is the Bulls and Heat’s heated race for the 8th playoff seed in the East. Right now, both teams are at 39-41 with two games remaining. Ideally, Chicago would be the best bet to win this race with its relatively week schedule. The team will face the Magic and the Nets for its last two games. On the other hand, the Heat will have to deal with the Cavaliers and the Wizards. The problem though is that the Bulls have been struggling as of late with Dwayne Wade out. As for the Heat? Well, they’ve become one of the hottest teams in the league (no pun intended). It would be interesting to see which of these two teams will get back to the playoffs this season.